In this short subject (which mostly represents a departure from Disney's traditional approach to animation), a stuffy owl teacher lectures his feathered flock on the origins of Western musical instruments. Starting with cavepeople, whose crude implements could only "toot, whistle, plunk and boom," the owl explains how these beginnings led to the development of the four basic types of Western musical instruments: brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion. Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
This was the first animated cartoon in CinemaScope. See more »
Today we're going to study about...
[looking at a comic book]
Love and mystery?
[writing on the blackboard]
[balancing other students on their heads]
No, no, no!
[bops Bertie on the head]
The study of musical instruments is the subject for today.
[...] See more »
As I said above, I really wanted to hate this film...but I couldn't. The reason I wanted to give this film a savage review is that it represents a style of animation that I hate--the very modern and minimalistic animation that came into vogue in the 1950s and lasted through the 70s. Up until films like TOOT WHISTLE PLUNK AND BOOK and films by (uggh) UPA Studios, animation had been very detailed and higher quality. Gorgeous backgrounds and high frame-rates were the norm in the 40s and into the 50s with studios like Looney Tunes, MGM and Disney. But, with the success of very simplistic UPA films like Gerald McBoing-Boing and Mr. Magoo (beating out traditional films for Oscars AND costing a fraction to make), Disney decided to experiment with this splashier but tremendously easy style of animation. So, for the style of this film and what it represented, I wanted to hate the film.
The problem is that although I disliked the art, I couldn't help but like the film--even though it was quite educational. In fact, now that I finished the film, I am still amazed because I usually watch animation to have fun--not learn things! But, I found that I enjoyed the learning.
The film is about the basic parts of music and how all instruments fall within four broad categories--those that go 'toot', those that whistle, those that are plucked ('plunk') and those that are struck ('boom'). This may seem silly, but it really did make sense and made me understand and appreciate music a lot more. In particular, I learned why horns are all curvy and how a trumpet works--and that's really cool.
Overall, a great film to teach anyone (not just kids) about the fundamentals of music AND it does it in a way that isn't boring. Who would have thought this was possible?!
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